It has been a busy year, and I appreciate everyone that has interacted with the BCC.
The new deed of grant for community councils has been sent out. It includes changes to the number of meetings, the requirements of those meetings and other activities. The minimum number of meetings has been reduced to four a year, with a requirement for them to be held both in-person and online at a consistent location.
Our September, October and November meetings all trialed different formats and use of technology, and these experiences will inform the technology and venue for meetings moving forward. The BCC has taken this deliberate approach to ensure that we invest our limited funds in the right technology. Additionally, it’s important to recognise the volunteer nature of these meetings, often managed by individuals with full-time jobs, and we do appreciate your patience
The new planning system started on the 27th of November, with the Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate (EPSDD) providing a range of training sessions. These sessions cover everything from introductory topics to detailed discussions on specific documents. Recordings should be made available on the EPSDD website next month. Further sessions may also be available next year.
The community recently celebrated the commencement of construction of the Belconnen wetlands with a small ceremony. The preparatory work for this project has begun, aiming for completion by the middle of next year. Planting is scheduled for the spring season. The project’s design, significantly improved through community consultation, now promises better ecological benefits and serves as a more valuable community asset.
Your council is undertaking a survey in Lawson to understand residents’ preferences and opinions on improvements and on the proposed mixed-use site. This survey is being distributed to the residents of Lawson in this week, weather dependent. This reflects the council’s commitment to actively including more of the community in its activities. The survey can be access here.
The council was incredibly disappointed to hear that the Strathnairn School has been delayed by one year, opening in term 1 2026 instead of term 1 2025. The letter we received from the Education Directorate is below.
We have been advised that the Development Application was lodged with EPSDD on Friday 10 November. Construction is scheduled to begin in May 2024. Please note the construction commencement date is subject to timely DA consideration and approval.
The new school will respond to enrolment demand from Strathnairn and surrounds, in response to residential development in the area. The Priority Enrolment Area for the school will be confirmed early in the new year and published on the Education website. Enrolments for the new school will open in April 2025, ahead of the 2026 school year.
The council was further disappointed to see that a Belconnen Town Centre Primary School has been removed from the education infrastructure plan. This is a step backwards from the ACT government’s 2019 infrastructure plan which included it.
These two issues were both included in our 2023-24 budget submission back in April, which can be found here, also quoted below.
Prioritise resources for school planning and design work, specifically in Strathnairn and the
Belconnen Town Centre.
The BCC notes that design work is underway for Ginninderry’s first P-6 school and early childhood
education centre in Strathnairn for an expected opening in 2025. The necessary resources must be
available to deliver this on time and in a manner that meets community expectations. Additionally,
per the ACT’s Infrastructure Plan, funding should be available to undertake feasibility studies to
inform future school infrastructure needs arising from further urban renewal in the Belconnen
Town Centre. An early and proactive approach will maximise the benefit of infrastructure
investment in the Belconnen Town Centre and allow for more effective integration with public and
active transport networks.
Earlier in the year we wrote to Yvette Berry regarding the status of shops in Ginninderry. Her response is below.
On the topic of shopping centres in West Belconnen, we also wrote to Mick Gentleman in September regarding the status of the Kippax redevelopment but are waiting for a response.
Kippax Fair has recently unveiled their concept plans for an all-new and expanded shopping centre for public comment. This redevelopment is indented to upgrade the Kippax Group Centre by offering modern supermarkets, specialty stores, dining options, parking, community facilities, and parks.
Check out the model of the plan near the stage area opposite the Woolworths entrance. Kippax Fair has expressed their desire to keep engaging with the local community, and have promised to keep us informed every step of the way. You can find the plans online at www.kippaxfairexpansion.com.au.
The BCC will continue to advocate for West Belconnen to ensure it is getting the infrastructure and services required to support a growing population.
As always we rely on you to provide us with information and issues from across the district. We are always looking for help to stay on top of the workload, so if you would like to get involved we’d love to hear from you. You can email us at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.